Trademark fights are no joke, even when they're over smiley faces.
Over the years, companies large and small have attempted to lock down catchphrases and logos to distinguish their brand from others, and some of the requests have been a little out there.
Who's got the "Best Coffee in America," for example? Well, Dunkin' Donuts say themselves, but it will be up to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to decide for sure. (A similar request by the Boston Beer Company to trademark the "Best Beer in America" was denied.)
Walmart apparently forgot about Forrest Gump when it tried to trademark the smiley face logo.
Indeed, trademark requests can make or break smaller businesses. Something as little as changing a company name can have big implications, particularly for smaller businesses since they can incur big costs in changing web domains and stationary and other branding items. Worse, they can lose valuable ground built up by word-of-mouth if they're forced to change their name, the Star-Tribune reports.
Check out some of the most bizarre trademark requests:
The Smiley Face
In 2006, Walmart tried unsuccessfully to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/technology/25iht-smiley.html?pagewanted=2" target="_hplink">trademark the smiley face</a>, arguing that the image had become associated with its stores in the retail sector.
In 2004, Donald Trump <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/media/2004-03-19-youre-fired_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA">tried and failed to trademark</a> the phrase "You're Fired," his favorite reality-TV catchphrase.
Subway succeeded at trademarking the phrase "footlong," though it was <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20031887-504083.html">contested by other restaurants.</a>
Since 1981, <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/26/opinion/ed-superhero26">DC Comics and Marvel have co-owned the trademark</a> for the word "superhero."
The Color Orange
Syracuse University filed a trademark on the color orange in 2006, which was <a href="http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/03/23/clemson_university_and_others_negotiate_with_syracuse_over_orange_trademark">later contested in court by other universities like Clemson and Boise State,</a> who also use orange as a school color.
A Red Sole
In September of 2012, a New York federal court <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/christian-louboutin-ysl-red-soles_n_1857992.html">affirmed French luxury brand Christian Louboutin's trademark on red-soled shoes.</a> Louboutin had sued competitor YSL when that company put a red sole on one of its shoes.
The Sound Of A Harley
In 1996, <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CwBKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NB4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=4347,3188159&dq=harley+davidson+trademark&hl=en">Harley Davison tried to trademark</a> the "vroom-vroom" sound its motorcycle engines produce.